Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Extra, Extra!

Tiger Woods apologizes for irresponsible and selfish behavior in Florida

There are several ways that athletes influence the economy. Obviously, many people spend their money to attend sporting events or buy sporting merchandise to show their pride in a certain team. However, an article in the Vancouver Sun made me think about the way in which athletes influence our grocery bill. I bet you're thinking about products like Gatorade, which I have mentioned in previous posts, or Wheaties, The Breakfast of Champions. However, I am avoiding these today. The part of your grocery bill that I am referring to is that one part that you are almost ashamed to buy. No, not the dessert that will totally ruin your weight loss plan. This shameful item is the tabloid. These magazines that litter checkout lines seem to appeal to Americans like the most. We like the idea that there is always somebody who is worse than we are. We see these athletes as almost superhuman; therefore, it is someone comforting, in a twisted sort of way, to realize that these athletes have faults. Their issues might be different than ours; many of us are not as physically healthy as athletes, but it is strangely comforting to many people to realize that athletes are not perfect either. Hence, we have a situation where the tabloid business is bound to be a significant player. It is not enough to say that Tiger Woods had an affair; there needs to be about 1000 "exclusive" interview with the alleged mistress. Nevertheless, people want to hear this story they can't hear anywhere else even if their claim of exclusive content is entirely false. What the issue essentially comes down to is that if you can package false information in a seemingly true box, many people believe it as the absolute truth. This is especially true for the athlete because people want to see the athletes fall to our level of humanity. When people are better than us in one area, such as physical talent, many people tend to want to undercut some other aspect of that person to humanize them. Humans identify with other humans, so realizing that we all have faults, which are often I believe wrongly disseminated by the tabloid media as it is not their place to tell, allows many people identify with the very same people that they turned into idols in the first place.

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